Intro to Critical Reading: Cetology Explains Ishmael's Relationship with Queequeg
This is how Ishmael initially treats Queequeg in Moby-Dick. Ishmael His life on the island doesn't come with many difficulties because his father is a high chief. Cetology Explains Ishmael's Relationship with Queequeg As Melville describes Queequeg through Ishmael's eyes, he uses intellectual and . I have trouble grasping the idea that Q. makes Ishmael *less* academic - after. The Ishmael-Queequeg “marriage” in Herman Melville's classic Moby-Dick ( / On this important issue Edinger wrote, “I doubt there is any question of.
The thought of facing something he does not fully understand nor can he fully categorize, like death, forces him back to his overly academic model of the world. Ishmael treats everything around him like a categorical set of data so that he can calculate his next move.
Queequeg in Moby-Dick: Character Analysis & Death
This seems rather unusual considering the fact that he has accepted his almost certain death, has made peace with his impending demise, but Ishmael is comforted and placated in the meantime by being able to control at least this part of his life.
By imposing his intelligence and knowledge on decidedly nonacademic situations, like whaling, he owns a sense of comfort that he cannot find anywhere else. This obsessively academic world view does not stop when it comes to humanity. Whereas most people have a natural tendency to treat fellow humans with a sort of tenderness, if not tenderness, then something less than a scientific overview, Ishmael refuses to soften his view of the world to account for humanity.
He ignores what he considers a weakness, any sort of emotion that cannot be characterized or categorized within his academic schema of the life he has created around the notion that his life will end soon. Thus, he begins a critical analysis of his bedfellow, taking into account his occupation, both on board as harpooner and on land, selling heads. He conjectures that Queequeg must be quite dangerous before he even meets the man.
He believes that Queequeg is white and has been captured and tattooed and his complexion is due to sun exposure. When he stumbles upon things about the man that are inexplicable, he recognizes his experiential shortcomings: It is strange that Ishmael should take such a categorical and impersonal attitude with a man with whom he is going to be sharing a bed. In the circumstances, would it not benefit Ishmael to accept the man for whatever he is since he must share a bed with him?
It would be better to have a bed in which to sleep than to lose even that because of judgment passed, specifically judgment based solely on physical appearance. It is particularly harsh when Ishmael tells the reader how afraid he is. At this point, Ishmael symbolically erases the line between different religions, making room for the acceptance he craves as an orphan.
He draws a line between homosexuality and homosociality, saying that while one is concerned with desire, the other is associated with friendship. The supposed homosexuality in Moby Dick, therefore, is actually homosociality, which illustrates the belief held by Melville that all men, orphan and savage alike, not only need each other, but also should be accepted as equal.
Now, some readers may challenge my view that the need for acceptance is a masculine trait at all.
Queequeg in Moby-Dick: Character Analysis & Death | victoryawards.us
After all, many believe that this desire shows somewhat of a weakness and is therefore feminine. Indeed, my own argument that Melville uses manhood to represent a need for other human beings seems to ignore the fact that Ishmael compares his relationship with Queequeg to one between man and wife.
I parry this with textual evidence: Melville very obviously chooses to exclude females from his major cast of characters. By keeping his characters strictly male, Melville provides no room for ambiguity in his portrayal of manhood.
The way in which Melville achieves this transition is through the establishment of a chain of command onboard the Pequod. Ahab, the captain, gets the most screen time, followed by the three mates, Starbuck, Stubb, and Flask, then the harpooneers, Queequeg, Tashtego, and Dagoo.
Ahab, with true manliness, is clearly the dominating force on the ship, and all others act beneath him. The hierarchy is the first superficial manifestation of a need for dominance; it is necessary for the Pequod to function successfully. Now, the scope of this essay does not include discussion on the abundant sexual imagery present in Moby Dick; I would not go as far as to say what Camille Paglia does in her book Sexual Personae: Ahab may have lost more than a limb in his first encounter with the great leviathan, and indeed his injury seems to be a symbolic emasculation.
His obsession with the whale would then be due to avenging his shattered manhood. By captaining a crew of infidels and savages, Ahab asserts power over his own stifling religion; by defying it, he has stepped away from tradition and given in to his desire for dominance.
Starbuck, the First Mate, stands for the rational realistic Ego which is overpowered by the fanatical compulsiveness of the Id and dispossessed of its normally regulating functions.
Ishmael & Queequeg's Friendship in Moby-Dick
David Leverenz, in a book entitled Manhood and the American Renaissance, throws out an opposing point of view to my theory of the need for dominance. Instead of a need to dominate, Leverenz argues that Ahab has a need to be dominated. In other words, Leverenz believes that Ahab and Ishmael each have an intense self-hate, and a desire to be dominated by a higher, unloving power.
While Leverenz may speak the truth about Ishmael,3 I disagree that his assertion applies to Ahab. As I am sure other readers will perceive this passage, Ahab speaks like a man who wishes to dominate, not be dominated. One of the passengers gets knocked overboard, so Queequeg dives in to rescue him. For three minutes or more he was seen swimming like a dog, throwing his long arms straight out before him, and by turns revealing his brawny shoulders through the freezing foam. I looked at the grand and glorious fellow, but saw no one to be saved.
The greenhorn had gone down. A few minutes more, and he rose again, one arm still striking out, and with the other dragging a lifeless form. The boat soon picked them up. The poor bumpkin was restored. All hands voted Queequeg a noble trump; the captain begged his pardon. From that hour I clove to Queequeg like a barnacle; yea, till poor Queequeg took his last long dive. When they finally get to Nantucket they check into yet another inn.
Queequeg elects to stay behind in the room and let Ishmael pick out their whaling ship for the both of them.
Queequeg - Wikipedia
When Ishmael returns to find the door to their room locked and Queequeg not answering, his immediate reaction is sheer, bloody panic. No, seriously, he screams for the landlady and busts down the door. All out of concern for a dude he met three days ago.
Fortunately for the both of them, Queequeg turns out to be meditating and not dead. Ishmael steps up to the plate and gives a very eloquent, proto-Unitarian-Universalist speech that moves them to give Queequeg a chance to show off how completely fucking amazing he is with his harpoon.
Once aboard, Queequeg and Ishmael remain boyfriends buddies. Ishmael spends most of his time in the rigging chatting with Queequeg rather than doing his actual job; the first half of Chapter Once Ishmael realizes whaling could get him killed, he makes Queequeg the executor of his will. The Monkey-Rope is all about how Ishmael and Queequeg are literally tethered together for the task of slicing up a dead whale, with Queequeg in the water and Ishmael remaining aboard as his anchor.
And when a fellow crewman falls overboard? But hardly had the blinding vapour cleared away, when a naked figure with a boarding-sword in his hand, was for one swift moment seen hovering over the bulwarks. The next, a loud splash announced that my brave Queequeg had dived to the rescue. And in Chapter Queequeg in his Coffin, when Queequeg gets sick and everyone believes he will die, some readers believe it is Ishmael to whom he confides his last wishes, which makes a hell of a lot more sense than having it be some random anonymous crewman if you ask me.
Even in death, his boyfriend completely platonic buddy is looking out for him.